The Carolina Panthers are set to host the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game at 6:40 p.m. ET Sunday, and inclement weather could be a disruptive factor as a snowstorm descends upon the East Coast.
Continue for updates.
Cardinals Not Concerned with Weather
Saturday, Jan. 23
"Sunday is going to be 37, wind about six miles an hour," Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said, according to AZCentral Sports' Kent Somers. "You couldn’t ask for better than that in Charlotte."
But even if the forecast deviates from the one Arians gushed over, Arizona seems prepared. According to ESPN.com's Josh Weinfuss, the Cardinals practiced with wet footballs in the days leading up to the NFC Championship Game despite practicing in ideal temperatures.
"I have played in a lot of wet, cold, snow, wind, without a glove, and I am doing the same thing," Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer said, per Weinfuss.
Clear Conditions Projected for Kickoff
Friday, Jan. 22
According to USA Today's Eric Prisbell, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency Thursday with more than a half-inch of ice and as much as 2.5 inches of snow in the forecast through Saturday night.
However, Jay Dieffenbach of AZCentral Sports noted Sunday's forecast calls for sunny skies. According to AccuWeather.com, the projected high for Sunday is 40 degrees with "brilliant sunshine" before the mercury drops closer to freezing at night.
Either way, the frigid temperatures and slick surface didn't appear to deter the Panthers during Friday's practice, per the team's official Twitter account:
Warmups. ❄❄❄ pic.twitter.com/eQcJOChwBm— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) January 22, 2016
The Charlotte Observer's Jonathan Jones posted a video of the ongoing field maintenance at Bank of America Stadium:
Getting the snow off the tarp. Panthers will remove tarp tomorrow afternoon to let air circulate and dry th... https://t.co/JQWNYSQZMq— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) January 22, 2016
"We could play in this type of weather on Sunday,” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Thursday, according to Prisbell. "If the front, from my understanding, slows down and lingers, there’s a chance it could end up being around for game time. We have got to prepare for it."
Citing an e-mail he received from Cardinals vice president of media relations Mark Dalton, Prisbell added the Cardinals don't expect the storm to disrupt their Saturday flight into Charlotte.
A snowy field would make for a tremendous scene with a trip to Super Bowl 50 on the line, but clear conditions will undoubtedly set the stage for a more even, compelling contest.
With that said, the Panthers may be hoping for poor weather conditions since Arizona is accustomed to playing in a climate-controlled stadium in the desert.